What to be aware of starting a business amid a pandemic

A pandemic should not deter you from building the business of your dreams.

It's a safe bet that no one will ever forget 2020. The effects of the novel coronavirus have had a truly indelible impact on the world at large and Australia in particular. The highly contagious nature of the airborne pathogen led to losses both in lives as well as livelihoods, with the country's gross domestic product at one point plummeting by nearly 6.5%, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

While the nation's economy does appear to be back on the mend, with household spending up close to 8% during the September quarter, the frenetic state of Australia's economy may have aspiring entrepreneurs questioning if now is the right time to launch a business. However, with the right approach and understanding of how the world has changed as a result of COVID-19, you can build a more successful company by adjusting to the circumstances of the moment and taking advantage of potential business opportunities.

Here are a few suggestions that can get you started out on the right path amid the pandemic:

1. Take it slow
Regardless of what's going on in the world, starting a business is a huge adjustment that involves a lot of planning, saving and preparing. Given this, going "all in" may be a step too far, as the economy is rather unpredictable. So instead of diving in headfirst, consider dipping your toes into the entrepreneurial waters by being your own boss as a side hustle. By moonlighting and leveraging the gig economy in your spare time, you can get a sense of overall demand for your product or service and the lengths you'll need to go to become a full-time operation.

2. Consider small business funding
If anything good came out of the pandemic, it's the fact that more people are saving their money. Indeed, based on the most recent figures available from the ABS, total household wealth rose nearly 2% during the September quarter, lodging growth in residential assets, superannuation balances and deposits.

However, using all your savings to get your company up and running may not be the best idea. Look into methods that can give you the capital needed to pay for the upfront costs associated with business creation. Whether you go through the government or a private lender, it will give you the cash flow you need to start a business smartly. You may want to consider getting multiple quotes so you can obtain a loan at the lowest interest rate possible.

3. Seize on new consumer habits
It's said that it can take as little or as long, depending on your perspective as three weeks for a particular behaviour to become a habit. Given the length of the pandemic, consumers across the country have adopted their own personal "new normals," whether that's working from home, taking up a new hobby like knitting or model plane creation or hiking in the great outdoors.

Ask yourself: Is there a particular product or service you specialise in that can enable you to capitalise on your fellow Aussies' newly formed routines? If so, see what you can do to amend your product or service offerings so that they're more in line with what your prospective customers are aiming to purchase. This may entail investigative work on your part, thus delaying the official opening date of your operation.

4. Be adaptable
In numerous ways, the pandemic has proven just how quickly anyone's circumstances can change. Many of the organisations that were rock-solid in terms of financial stability were suddenly on unstable ground, from exercise studios, restaurants, theatres and hair salons. Many of those same companies have yet to find their footing.

Whatever services and products you plan on providing to prospective clientele, it's important to be fully adaptable. This requires comprehensive business planning. A strategic business plan not only defines your objectives and goals but also details what alternative methods you can employ when faced with challenges. Planning ahead is what can help you be more adaptable and pivot so you can continue to churn out a given product or service no matter what circumstances outside of your control you might be facing.

At WMC Accounting, our mission is helping businesses succeed and become the best version of themselves. Whether you've been a business owner for a long time or you want to begin a new chapter in your professional career, WMC Accounting has the time, tenure and track record to get your operation going and growing. From bookkeeping and accounting to risk management and budgeting, WMC Accounting is your one-stop headquarter for stem to stern business services. Please contact us today to learn more about how we can be of assistance.

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